Starting Life

Starting Life

- 5 mins

I just started my life without school. Let me tell you how it’s going and what I’m thinking about.

Whisked away into the real world straight after graduating from Minerva was definitely a bit of a shock. While it may have felt like another summer break, the vibe was slightly different for me this time in New York City. There are a few ideas that I want to write about here that I think are important considerations for my future.

Learn to invest more in relationships

For the last 4 years, whenever I’ve arrived at a new city, it’s been temporary. San Francisco, Seoul, Hyderabad, Berlin, even London. Once my home, London had become a temporary stay just like the rest. I always had plans – jetsetting to this place, leaving on that date. And everyone around me knew it. They would treat me differently as a result. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing: friends at home would often try to make more plans with me when I was in town, or friends abroad would show me the “best time possible” via the highlights of their daily life. However, new people discovered in cities I had just moved to held me at arms-length, cautious to invest in a friendship that they knew had a deadline. The same went for any romanticism.

Now that I have finished my time as a nomad (at least for now), I realise the importance of investing in relationships. Now, of course, I have a lot of friends around the world. Some of these friends are also friends for life, regardless of geographical boundaries. Actually, I would probably go far enough to say that I am blessed with more friends than most. However, the mentality is different when the friends you’re with, like those who went to high school with me or those who travelled the world through Minerva besides me, know you’re sticking around for a while. You realise the relationship is much more than the odd night out that you know will eventually come to an end. Rather, it’s the shared experiences, the fond memories you have and will create together, and the development you’ve invested to create shared value in each other’s lives.

In this new chapter of my life, I’m excited to invest in such relationships and go far beyond the surface level with even more people (after all, Minerva was only ~140 students). It’ll be nice to have a consistent group who all are living in one place indefinitely, create these shared memories, and interweave our lives.

A routine isn’t the only way

I used to think settling down in one place meant creating a routine. Work at certain hours, see friends at when you’re not, pick up a hobby or two, rinse & repeat. After this summer in New York, I think a routine makes life boring.

A routine breeds complacency, and complacency is the bane to living a worthwhile existence. I want to always be pushing my comfort zones, challenging myself, stepping out of my daily rituals and doing something completely different. I think I was able to do this quite well in NYC due to the sheer volume of interesting things that happen in the city, and I hope I can keep this up upon moving back in October.

Balance is key(?)

The way I’ve been living life for a while is to go as fast as bloody possible. Wake up quick, and get on with the day. I’ll have constant plans lined up, whether it be to go to a nearby coffee shop to work, meet with a friend for lunch, explore a new part of the city, or check out a cool music concert. Often over this recent summer in NYC I found myself rushing around, biking 10 minutes to make something instead of peacefully walking 20. At times, it was intense. I’d eventually hop into bed late in the evening with a big sigh and sacrifice my sleep as a result.

A part of me wants to say this was unhealthy. You need time for yourself. Time to reflect. Time to breathe. But the other part of me says that life is far too short to stop now, especially while I have the energy of a 22 year-old. Honestly, the way I think about sleep is the same these days. A lot of successful people in whatever domain often sacrificed sleep for other things more important. If I always got 8 hours a day, I’d live only 2/3 of my life. I think at this stage in my life I’m keen to keep going a million miles an hour, but with a slight change in mentality: when you feel like you’re not getting as much out of things, take a day off. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a day to yourself to wander a city aimlessly, meditate in the sun, or spend over an hour in the gym. As I go about things, I’ll try to do this more often. BUT keep up the energy and camp counselor vibes. Drag your friends into it too. It’s too much fun to run around doing crazy sh$t to not do this.

Prioritise the people who make you smile

When I was younger, I’d hang out with people and often given them the benefit of doubt when they did something I disagreed with/made me angry. I’d often brush it off, and dismiss it as immaturity or an internal problem they were struggling with that managed to make its way to external actions. And rightfully so. People are driven by emotions, particularly when young, and often make mistakes.

However, as I’ve grown into adulthood, there are some people I’ve realised I simply don’t have time for. If what they did 5 years ago is the same as what they’re doing now to break relationships, hurt feelings, or just give off negative vibes, I’ve realised they are not for me. There are too many brilliantly smart, energetic, friendly people in this world that I know and have yet to meet. I’d way rather hang out with them than those who make me unhappy. I’ll give people chances, sure. Expecially if I’ve known them for a long time and they are going through hard times. But honestly, I should always try to be around people who make me smile.

Alexander Bricken

Alexander Bricken

Travelling the world.

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